In the exhaustive, never-ending battle of Liam vs. Noel Gallagher, it looks like Noel has all but emerged victorious.
Beady Eye, a.k.a. Oasis Minus Noel, played their first Los Angeles gig last night at the Wiltern, and it was as underwhelming as their 2011 debut record Different Gear, Still Speeding.
Whereas Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds shined last month at two sold-out UCLA Royce Hall shows, Beady Eye couldn't sell out the Wiltern. Maybe fans did some research and realized Liam & Company weren't playing any Oasis songs on this tour, or maybe enough people don't know about Beady Eye. KROQ has played some of Noel's material, but it doesn't seem as if Beady Eye have received close to the same amount of attention radio-wise.
At any rate, the show was mostly entertaining, despite the set list's abundance of Beady Eye songs that just weren't super fantastic.
Opening the night were local LA lads Incan Abraham, who basically sounded like a mix between Vampire Weekend and Foster the People. Think danceable indie-pop-rock with keyboards and driving rhythms, that sort of thing. They didn't really sound especially unique, overall, given the wealth of indie pop-dance-rock bands out there now, but they did give off a more authentic vibe than the now-very-overexposed Foster the People.
Up next were Belgium's The Black Box Revelation, who were...yeah, a revelation. A two-piece rock duo comprised of Jan Paternoster and Dries Van Dijck, they were basically the European version of the Black Keys, but with an added layer of dirtyness thrown into the mix. They had the same type of soulful, blues-laden garage rock that the Black Keys had a few albums ago, but with some unique flourishes that were aided by Paternoster's buzzsaw of a voice. He's also a master on the guitar, shredding with ease as Van Dijck slammed into his drum aggressively. Hopefully 2012 brings them more attention stateside, because albums like 2011's My Perception deserve it. They're a great, powerful act.
Coming onstage to a huge glowing "Beady Eye" backdrop (ostensibly a middle-finger to the face of Noel, in terms of a "this is who we are now, fuck off! type of thing), Beady Eye went right into Four Letter Word, one of their best songs thus far in their short career.
Liam, clad in a ridiculously heavy-looking green overcoat and scarf (probably from his Pretty Green clothing line) obviously relishes in the fact that Noel isn't next to him onstage distracting the crowd from his antics. He pranced around, at one point reaching into the crowd and hoisting a fan's Manchester City soccer scarf into the air with pride. He also autographed a fan's outstretched LP, which was amusing.
Musically, Beady Eye's sound was dominated by Liam's voice, which was very high in the mix. The fact that the Wiltern wasn't really close to capacity probably helped in the stage noises being lost in the fold, but it was hard to hear guitarists Andy Bell and Gem Archer sometimes.
Considering they aren't playing any Oasis songs yet, the band stuck to their debut album, as well as some non-album tunes like In the Bubble with a Bullet, World Outside My Room and Man of Misery. The abundance of their own songs made the second half of the set drag a bit, considering they have probably released more songs than they should have, thus far. Some didn't translate well live, and others were just boring.
Despite the lack of stellar source material, the band played well enough; what you could hear of the musicians sounded good enough, particularly drummer Chris Sharrock - he played hard on each song, even the slower, more meandering ones. Liam, meanwhile, did all the typical Liam things - standing with his back to the crowd, having short conversations with random fans up close, and occasionally gazing out intensely at no one in particular. He's always loved the spotlight, and you could tell that he really enjoys being the total focal point of the band.
However, the band's lack of great material made this show pale in comparison to Noel's last month. After all, he was the main songwriter in Oasis, and took with him a lot of their talent. Beady Eye are decent, but their songs definitely lack the same kind of immediacy and power of some of Noel's work.
Hopefully, Beady Eye are able to expand their sound a bit, branching out creatively to make some music that stands on its own better than their debut record provided.